Martin Luther King III knocks North Carolina’s Mark Robinson in new ads

Human rights activist Martin Luther King III is slamming North Carolina GOP gubernatorial candidate Mark Robinson in new ads accusing him of rejecting the Civil Rights movement that King’s father and others led.

The ads that the liberal-leaning group Progress NC Action released show King discussing comments Robinson has made about aspects of that movement and his father, Martin Luther King Jr.

Robinson, who is North Carolina’s lieutenant governor, is the Republican nominee for governor and is running against state Attorney General Josh Stein (D).

In one ad, King rejects any comparison between his father and Robinson, saying the “blatant bigotry” Robinson and former President Trump have reinforced is in direct opposition to what his father referred to as the “beloved community, a world built on peace and justice.”

“Let me be clear. My father would be gravely disappointed in Mark Robinson,” King said.

In another, he says Robinson has “repeatedly mocked” his father, but he is more bothered by Robinson’s “outright rejection of a Civil Rights movement my father and so many others lived and died for.” He pointed to comments Robinson made calling the lunch counterprotest in Greensboro, N.C., a “ridiculous premise” and arguing freedoms actually were lost during the Civil Rights movement.

“As my father said, ‘Nothing is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity,’” King said.

Robinson has made a wide range of controversial comments throughout his career, including derogatory remarks about Jewish, Muslim and transgender people and Black Americans who vote for Democrats.

His communications director, Mike Lonergan, told The Hill in a statement that the organization that released the ads is “another far-left partisan group pushing extremist priorities.

“They’re completely out of step with North Carolinians and desperate to cover up the racist smears from Joe Biden, Josh Stein and the Democrats,” Lonergan said.

Lonergan also pointed to comments Robinson made last August at the Greensboro Civil Rights Museum in which he praised the city for holding “the distinction for starting the movement that changed the face of the entire nation.”

“So it’s an honor to be here today and it’s more of an honor to be called a citizen of Greensboro where a movement like this started, and this is a place we need to continue to fund and bring young people to remind them of how far we’ve come and to remind them of what we can do in the future if we continue to work together,” Robinson said at the time.

The nonpartisan election handicapper Cook Political Report rates the race as a “toss up.”

Updated 1:33 p.m. ET.

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